The Spiritual Exercises for the Roman Curia is scheduled for 21 – 26 February. This year, however, due to the persistence of the current health emergency, Pope Francis invited the Heads of Dicasteries and Superiors of the Curia to make private arrangements for their annual retreat. Normally, the Spiritual Exercises of the Roman Curia are observed communally at the Casa Divin Maestro in Arricia, Italy.
The Holy Father, expressing his closeness to the retreatants during this period, is gifting each one of them a book titled “Abbi a cuore il Signore”- a Pauline’s publication, edited by Jesuit priest, Daniele Libanori. The gift is accompanied by a letter from the Holy Father, addressed to Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.
In light of the difficulties attached to being able to gather together in person, Pope Francis encourages each one of the retreats to do the Spiritual Exercises where it is most convenient for them and expresses hope that the book would help everyone in their spiritual lives.
The book, “Abbi a cuore il Signore,” is a 17th century manuscript written by a monk, Maestro di San Bartolo. It is a collection of notes written by hand on sheets of paper in ecclesiastical Latin found in inadvertently in Ferrara.
In the preface, Fr. Libanori explains that these notes were probably intended for personal use in preaching by Maestro di San Bartolo. The writing is rich is meditations with notes and numerous biblical references, and it also contains a small treatise on the deadly vices. Fr. Libanori notes that the book contains a wisdom of common sense, but not without interest. He further adds that they document a sensitivity and experience of the Church in spiritual guidance.
All of these, Fr. Libanori notes, make for useful reading for “overcoming oneself and going more quickly towards God.”